- Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Genital warts affect both women and men, but women are more vulnerable to complications.
- Genital warts can be treated, but they can come back unless the underlying infection is also treated.
Genital warts are soft growths that appear on the genitals. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). These skin growths can cause pain, discomfort, and itching. They are especially dangerous for women because some types of HPV can also cause cancer of the cervix and vulva.
HPV is the most prevalent of all STIs. This makes men and women who are sexually active vulnerable to complications of HPV, such as genital warts. Protection and treatment are essential in preventing this infection.
What causes genital warts?
Most cases of genital warts are caused by HPV. And there are more than 70 types of HPV that specifically affect the genitals. The HPV virus is highly transmittable through skin-to-skin contact, which is why it is considered a STI.
In fact, HPV is so common that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that most sexually active people get it at some point — the key difference is whether the virus leads to complications like genital warts.
Genital warts are caused by different strains of HPV that cause warts on your hands or other parts of the body that don’t include the genital. A wart can’t spread from someone’s hand to the genitals, and vice versa.